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Your Questions

Q

I keep reading that Champagne sales are increasing around the world, but if the region has a limited number of vineyards, how do they continue to make more and more Champagne?

Dave McIntosh, Ballina, NSW

The statistics are more to do with turnover than absolute volume. Production of Champagne averages just over 310 million bottles annually. But that figure can vary, as it did in 2017, when only 295 million bottles were made thanks to the onset of botrytis late in the season. Global Champagne shipments are fairly stable in terms of volume but there has been an increase in turnover (6.6% in 2017) thanks to the emergence of new markets that favour premium wines and because of a decrease in the amount of Champagne being discounted.

Q

When making wine is it better to use wild yeast than inoculated yeast, and if so, why?

Natasha Kaye, Subiaco, WA

It depends on the style of wine you are trying to achieve. To honour the vineyard character and add a degree of complexity and interest, then a natural or wild yeasts ferment will help the wine-maker achieve this. There are a number of yeasts present at the onset of fermentation that can help create character though these usually die as the alcohol level increases. There is always a degree of the unpredictable with a natural ferment but the benefit is a wine that speaks strongly of a sense of place. However if the aim is to make an early drinking style, one that needs to be clean and correct, then often the decision is made to inoculate with a cultured strain, chosen for its particular properties. Although complexity is sacrificed, ferments are more regular and will progress cleanly and efficiently.

Q

I am a great fan of the Coravin system as I often like to drink a bottle of wine over time. If I discover, when using the system, the first glass of wine I pour is corked, can I still return the bottle to the merchant from which it came for a refund, providing the bottle has been bought in the recent past?

Daniel Golledge, Seaforth, NSW

If you have a good relationship with your merchant then I couldn’t see why you wouldn’t be offered a refund. The beauty of the Coravin system is that it is easily transportable so maybe you can take the bottle (and the Coravin) into the store and pour a glass for the merchant? Keeping the receipt will show when you bought (and where) but I wouldn’t worry about whether it was purchased recently or not. A corked wine will be corked whatever its age when opened.

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